|Publication number||US6843365 B2|
|Application number||US 10/796,764|
|Publication date||18 Jan 2005|
|Filing date||9 Mar 2004|
|Priority date||9 Feb 2001|
|Also published as||US20020108839, US20040173436, WO2002064459A2, WO2002064459A3|
|Publication number||10796764, 796764, US 6843365 B2, US 6843365B2, US-B2-6843365, US6843365 B2, US6843365B2|
|Inventors||Timothy R. Baker|
|Original Assignee||Paragon Technologies, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (48), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (17), Classifications (7), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a division of application Ser. No. 10/072,411, filed Feb. 8, 2002 now abandoned.
This application claims the benefit of the filing date of provisional application Ser. No. 60/267,864, filed Feb. 9, 2001.
The present invention relates to a material handling system and, more particularly, to a narrow belt conveyor system.
Narrow belt conveyor systems use multiple, continuously moving parallel belts for conveying flat-bottomed objects along straight runs. Narrow belt conveyor systems are often used in conjunction with accessories, such as sorters, transfers, accumulators and/or diverters, which are located between the several belts of the conveyor intermediate the ends thereof, to, e.g., change the direction of conveyed items, etc. Such sorters, accumulators, transfers, and diverters, which may be, e.g., powered rollers or wheels, are moved from a retracted position that is beneath the top surface of the conveyor belts, to an extended position above the top surface so that they can engage the underside of the conveyed items to effect a change of direction.
Narrow belt conveyors are popular because of their versatility. In particular, they are susceptible to modification in the placement of the sorters, accumulators, transfers, and/or diverters to suit the changing needs of the users.
However, such narrow belt conveyors also have limitations. For example, the movement of the sorters, accumulators, transfers, and/or diverters can often be time consuming and labor intensive. In addition, the narrow belts must also track accurately in order to avoid interference with the various sorters, accumulators, transfers, and/or diverters that have to fit therebetween. As can be readily appreciated, any structure that provides for tracking must also not promote any undue wear of the belts. Further, proper tensioning of the belts is needed to make sure that each of the belts are driven at the same speed. This has also proven difficult, particularly if the several belts vary in length due to, for example, unequal stretching of the belts over their service lives.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved narrow belt conveyor system.
More particularly, it is an object to provide such a narrow belt conveyor system that facilitates the easy relocation of accessories such as transfers, accumulators, sorters, and/or diverters along the length of the conveyor.
It is another object to provide such a conveyor system that has improved belt tracking while not promoting undue belt wear.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide a belt tensioning apparatus for a narrow belt conveyor system which tensions the several belts equally.
These objects, as well as others which will become apparent upon reference to the accompanying drawings and following detailed description, are provided by a narrow belt conveyor system in which the belts are supported between a pair of opposed, elongated side frame members that extend between the drive end and the return end of the conveyor system. An elongated track is associated and generally co-extensive with each side frame member, with each elongated track being adapted to slidingly receive a mounting member of an accessory, such as a sorter, accumulator, transfer, and/or diverter, so that the accessory can be moved along the track to the desired location intermediate drive end and the return end. In a preferred embodiment, the elongated track is generally U-shaped so as to form a channel adapted to receive a slide plate, the slide plate being mounted to the accessory. The side frames may also be provided with a plurality of opposed, spaced-apart mounting holes for mounting external conveyor accessories such as conveyor spurs, photo-eye brackets, and scanners.
The conveyor may also be provided with a belt guide track for each belt comprising an elongated base member which is secured to the frame of the conveyor, and an elongated insert adapted to be carried on the base member. The base member is made of a low friction material and has opposed side walls to prevent the belt from moving laterally with respect to the support.
Additionally, a belt guide may be provided for the return run of each belt which comprises pairs of first and second freely-rotating rollers secured to the conveyor system on the opposite sides of each belt so that the rollers engage the edges of the belt. In a preferred embodiment, the rollers may include a channel adapted to receive the edge of the belt. Further, each roller in the pair may be longitudinally spaced from the other along the length of the belt.
Further, a belt tensioner is provided that includes an axle member which is mounted to the conveyor system transversely to the belts. A bracket assembly is provided for each belt that is pivotally mounted to the axle. Each bracket assembly includes a tensioning pulley that is mounted with respect to the bracket. A second bracket assembly is provided that is pivotally mounted to the axle member. An actuator is connected to this second bracket member for pivoting the second bracket assembly about the axle member. Each first bracket assembly is connected to the second bracket assembly by a lost motion connector comprising at least one resilient member. Thus, when the second bracket assembly is pivoted in the direction to apply tension to the belts, each bracket is tensioned individually to approximately the same tension.
The conveyor system of the present invention can be made in practically any desired configuration by combining straight run units 10 (
Each of these units includes opposed side frame members 16, 18 that interconnect and support the various components in the unit, such as 90° transfer 20 (
In keeping with one aspect of the present invention, the side frames 16, 18 have an elongated U-shaped track or channel 24 (best seen in
Each side frame 16, 18 also includes a plurality of mounting holes spaced at uniform intervals to facilitate mounting external conveyor accessories, such as conveyor spurs, photo-eye brackets, and scanners thereto.
In keeping with another aspect of the present invention, an improved belt guide track 28 (
While the track 28 described above guides and supports the loaded belt 15 on the exposed or top side of the sorter, on the return side, or under-side of the belt generally only directional guidance is needed, as no vertical load is supported by the belts.
Accordingly, in keeping with a further aspect of the present invention, pairs of freely-rotating side rollers 46 (best seen in
Belt tensioners are used in conveyor systems to insure that there is sufficient tension on the belt so that it does not slip when being engaged by the drive pulley. Belt tensioning is complicated in a narrow belt conveyor because slight variations in the lengths of the different belts can result in different tensions on the individual belts during the operation of the conveyor.
Accordingly, in a further aspect of the present invention (best seen in FIGS. 11-15), a plurality of freely-rotating tensioning sheaves or pulleys 52 are provided, one for each belt 15, with each pulley 52 being part of an assembly 54 that is pivotally mounted for rotation about a common axis 56. Each tensioning assembly 54 is mounted independently to the common axis 56 and is operatively connected to a pneumatic drive 58 comprising two pistons, with the pistons rotating the pulley assemblies 54 about the axis 56 to place tension on the belts 15 that are trained about the pulleys 52.
Each belt 15 has its own tensioning sheave or pulley 52 (as best seen in FIG. 14), with each pulley being supported between a pair of generally triangularly-shaped plates 62 to form a tensioning pulley assembly 54. The tensioning pulley 52 of each assembly 54 is supported adjacent one end of the hypotenuse of the triangle and the opposite end of the hypotenuse is supported for rotational movement about a cylindrical bar that forms the common axis 56 that is carried between the opposing side frame members 63 by brackets 64. The brackets 64 are secured to their respective side frames 63 by bolts 66. Each pair of triangularly-shaped plates 62 also includes a spacer bar 68 (
Two generally L-shaped drive plates 70 are also mounted on one end for rotation motion about the cylindrical bar 56, the two drive plates 70 being joined to one and other by a piece of elongated bar stock 72 so that they move in tandem about the cylindrical bar. The cylindrical bar 56 also supports nylon washers (not shown) between adjacent tensioning units 54 and drive plates 70. The second end of each drive plate 70 is pivotally connected to a piston rod 74 which is linearly moved by an associated cylinder 76, each cylinder 76 being pivotally mounted to the frame at 78. As will be described in greater detail below, the drive plates 70 are also operatively connected to the tensioning pulley units 54 so that tension can be applied to or released from the conveyor belts 15 through actuation of the cylinder 76/piston rod 74.
In accordance with this aspect of the invention, the four tensioning pulley units 54 are ganged together to provide for their movement in unison to tension the belts 15. However, each tensioning unit 54 includes a “lost motion” connector so that it is capable of a certain amount of tensioning movement independent from each of the other units 54. This accommodates for potential differences in the lengths of the several belts 15 comprising the conveyor system.
To this end, each of the mounting plates 62 in each tensioning unit is attached to the bar stock 72 that connects the two drive plates 70 to each other by a “lost motion” connection including a pair of springs 80. Each tensioning unit 54 has a short piece of bar stock 82 (best seen in
Thus, with reference to
Thus, a narrow belt conveyor has been provided that meets all the objects of the present invention. While the invention has been described in terms of certain specific embodiments, there is no intent to limit the invention to the same. Instead, the invention is defined by the following claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US1168865||23 Jun 1913||18 Jan 1916||Texas Co||Side-delivery conveyer.|
|US3088581 *||12 Apr 1961||7 May 1963||Young Brothers Company||Conveyor belt control device|
|US3456773||7 Mar 1967||22 Jul 1969||American Chain & Cable Co||Case diverter|
|US3470668 *||15 Sep 1966||7 Oct 1969||Hormel & Co Geo A||Shingling bacon process and apparatus|
|US3942624 *||29 Mar 1973||9 Mar 1976||Union Carbide Corporation||Cantilevered belted bag loading apparatus and method|
|US4249661||9 Jun 1978||10 Feb 1981||Lem Hans J||Conveyor sortation system|
|US4269305||15 May 1979||26 May 1981||J. H. Fenner & Co. Limited||Powered conveyors|
|US4511030||28 Mar 1983||16 Apr 1985||Air Lane Systems Inc.||Article accumulating conveyor system|
|US4696386||14 Jun 1985||29 Sep 1987||Lem Hans J||Conveyor system diverter turn assembly|
|US4730718||23 Oct 1986||15 Mar 1988||Ermanco Incorporated||Bi-directional transfer mechanism|
|US4926999||28 Apr 1989||22 May 1990||American Bottlers Equipment Co., Inc.||Right angle flow-through jump transfer conveyor system|
|US4930623||19 Jun 1989||5 Jun 1990||Industrial Conveyor Co., Inc.||Conveyor system and integral one-piece extended guidetrack|
|US4962841||28 Feb 1989||16 Oct 1990||Ermanco Incorporated||Opposite direction transfer device|
|US5042644||18 Jan 1990||27 Aug 1991||Ermanco Incorporated||Zero pressure accumulation conveyor and trigger assembly|
|US5092451||28 Sep 1988||3 Mar 1992||Logan Fenamec (Uk) Limited||Method of and apparatus for separating articles conveyed on a conveyor system|
|US5165516||23 Aug 1991||24 Nov 1992||Interlake Companies, Inc.||Three-way transfer conveyor|
|US5180504||22 May 1991||19 Jan 1993||Baxter International Inc.||Systems and methods for removing undesired matter from blood cells|
|US5205394||31 Jul 1991||27 Apr 1993||Natec, Reich, Summer Gmbh & Co. Kg.||Device for the perpendicular change in the direction of conveyance of a foodstuff, in particular cheese, sausage and similar product in slice form|
|US5311983||17 Mar 1993||17 May 1994||Tekno, Inc.||Conveyor frame with drive housing|
|US5316134||21 Oct 1992||31 May 1994||Automated Production Systems Corporation||Conveyor guidetrack segment|
|US5329800 *||11 Feb 1993||19 Jul 1994||Service Tool International, Inc.||Conversion system having conveyor slide assembly for multiple belts|
|US5427223||6 Jun 1994||27 Jun 1995||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5435429||27 May 1994||25 Jul 1995||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5590995||19 Dec 1994||7 Jan 1997||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveying rail system for a trolly|
|US5641056||25 May 1995||24 Jun 1997||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Inc.||Conveyor system|
|US5657858||28 Feb 1996||19 Aug 1997||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5667054||11 Jan 1996||16 Sep 1997||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5676237||29 Sep 1995||14 Oct 1997||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Inc.||Tracking device|
|US5695042||25 Nov 1996||9 Dec 1997||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5826695||3 Jan 1997||27 Oct 1998||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5826704||22 Apr 1997||27 Oct 1998||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5839570||7 Dec 1995||24 Nov 1998||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor|
|US5909797||3 Jan 1997||8 Jun 1999||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor with endless conveyor element having interconnected carriers|
|US5944171||4 Dec 1997||31 Aug 1999||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Conveyor and support rollers around curved traveling portion|
|US5984498||21 Nov 1996||16 Nov 1999||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Inc.||Device controller with intracontroller communication capability, conveying system using such controllers for controlling conveying sections and methods related thereto|
|US6012568||12 Mar 1997||11 Jan 2000||Kane; Joseph R.||Adjustable conveyor|
|US6035998||10 Mar 1998||14 Mar 2000||Ermanco Incorporated||Dual sensor trigger assembly for live roller conveyors|
|US6085892||7 Feb 1997||11 Jul 2000||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Inc.||High speed sorting/diverting apparatus, an apparatus controller and systems using same|
|US6105751||3 Sep 1997||22 Aug 2000||Vanderlande Industries Nederland B.V.||Device for transporting objects|
|US6359247||6 Jul 1999||19 Mar 2002||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Llc||Multi-fire and variable fire diverter conveyor system and method|
|US6378687||30 May 2000||30 Apr 2002||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Inc.||High speed sorting/diverting apparatus, an apparatus controller and systems using same|
|US6427831||15 Nov 2000||6 Aug 2002||Frank B. Norton||Convertible conveyor bed and method|
|US6466828||2 Sep 1999||15 Oct 2002||Quantum Conveyor Systems, Inc.||Device controller with intracontroller communication capability, conveying system using such controllers for controlling conveying sections and methods related thereto|
|US6619465||31 Mar 2000||16 Sep 2003||Gebhardt Fördertechnik GmbH||Points for a feeding system, especially a gravity roller table|
|EP0310411B1||30 Sep 1988||1 Sep 1993||Logan Fenamec (Uk) Limited||A method of and apparatus for separating articles conveyed by a conveyor system|
|GB2187156A||Title not available|
|GB2210841A||Title not available|
|WO1994018101A1||4 Feb 1994||18 Aug 1994||Logan Fenamec (Uk) Limited||A claim conveyor|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US6971509 *||4 Mar 2005||6 Dec 2005||Dorner Mfg. Corp.||Endless belt conveyor frame and tensioning device including center drive construction|
|US7383944 *||26 Jun 2006||10 Jun 2008||Dorner Mfg. Corp.||Sanitary conveyor center drive assembly|
|US7500435||31 Mar 2006||10 Mar 2009||Honda Motor Co., Ltd.||Friction drive system and method for palletized conveyor|
|US7581632||20 Mar 2007||1 Sep 2009||Tgw-Ermanco Inc.||Sequential diverter for narrow belt conveyor and associated methods|
|US7954810 *||10 Feb 2005||7 Jun 2011||Beiler Beheer B.V.||Method and device for transporting a sheet|
|US8757352 *||19 Jul 2012||24 Jun 2014||National Presort, Inc.||Downstream diverter|
|US8899408 *||1 Aug 2013||2 Dec 2014||Applied Materials, Inc.||Temperature actuated tensioning mechanism|
|US9216862||13 Aug 2013||22 Dec 2015||Tgw Systems, Inc.||Narrow belt sorter|
|US20050145465 *||4 Mar 2005||7 Jul 2005||Ertel Daniel E.||Endless belt conveyor frame and tensioning device including center drive construction|
|US20050183932 *||10 Feb 2005||25 Aug 2005||Tgw Transportgerate Gmbh & Co. Kg||Driving mechanism for the traction-exerting component particularly of a conveyor device|
|US20070170644 *||10 Feb 2005||26 Jul 2007||Beiler Beheer B.V.||Method and device for transporting a sheet|
|US20070283839 *||31 Mar 2006||13 Dec 2007||Honda Motor Co., Ltd.||Friction drive system and method for palletized conveyor|
|US20070284218 *||20 Mar 2007||13 Dec 2007||Matthew Earl Wallace||Sequential diverter for narrow belt conveyor and associated methods|
|US20070295583 *||26 Jun 2006||27 Dec 2007||Hall Scott M||Sanitary conveyor center drive assembly|
|US20140034454 *||1 Aug 2013||6 Feb 2014||Applied Materials, Inc.||Temperature actuated tensioning mechanism|
|US20160083196 *||19 Sep 2015||24 Mar 2016||Robotica, Inc.||Closed gap transfer for a conveyor and method of using same|
|WO2007146522A1 *||11 May 2007||21 Dec 2007||Tgw-Ermanco Incorporated||Sequential diverter for narrow belt conveyor and associated methods|
|U.S. Classification||198/813, 198/814, 198/817|
|International Classification||B65G47/10, B65G47/54|
|24 Aug 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MALIBU ACQUISITION, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ERMANCO INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:016438/0654
Effective date: 20050805
Owner name: TGW-ERMANCO, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:MALIBU ACQUISITION, INC.;REEL/FRAME:016438/0687
Effective date: 20050805
|13 Oct 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ERMANCO INCORPORATED, MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PARAGON TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:016630/0801
Effective date: 20050803
|18 Jul 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|3 Sep 2012||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|18 Jan 2013||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|12 Mar 2013||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20130118